Cette étude a pour objet d'établir dans quelle mesure la structure actuelle de la rémunération des instituteurs de la province de Québec permet dassurer la réalisation de certains objectifs. Ces objectifs sont déterminés par l'équité et l'intérêt commun. L'analyse des faits révèle qu'il existe certaines discriminations inacceptables dans la rémunération des instituteurs et que notre expansion économique et la maîtrise de nos destinées sont compromises par des déficiences dans le « capital humain » dont la province dispose. Dans ces circonstances, il devient nécessaire de rétablir l'équité et d'améliorer la valeur de notre « capital humain ». A cette fin, l'auteur a indiqué certaines des mesures qu'il faudrait prendre.
This article deals with the problem of the wage structure in the field of education and its relations to the implementation of given objectives. Those objectives are based on equity and the common good.
The analysis reveals there exist inacceptable discriminations in the salaries of teachers and that the economic expansion of the province is compromised by deficiencies in the « human capital » available.
In those circumstances, it appears clearly that decisions ought to be taken in order to re-establish equity and provide the required «human capital ». Some measures are proposed to that effect.
The acquisition of knowledge brings benefits to the nation as well as to the individuals. These benefits have an economic value that can (and has) been measured. In that respect, educational expenses are an investment as much as any expenses made to expand physical facilities. In fact, the yield on investments made in that sector has been shown to be greater than (or at least as great as) that of similar investments in physical capital.
The average income of men with 12 years of schooling is more than 50% above the average income of men with 8 years of schooling. Besides, the income of the former increases more rapidly than that of the latter.
It is now widely recognized that investment in « human capital » is the most important lever in increasing productivity. It is not necessarily the nations gratified with the best natural resources that can provide the highest standard of living. Highly qualified workers are an input essential to insure the best uses of other inputs. Recent studies have shown that a higher degree of education is an explanation of the astonishing economic revival of Germany after the war and has caused 30% of the increase in the American G.N.P. since 1920.
Governments have an important role to play in the improvement of the quality of the labour force. Such an objective cannot be left to the blind forces of market for its implementation. It is the responsability of the government to make sure, that sufficient resources are diverted into the field of education. It has to make sure that they be diverted as long as its marginal efficiency is higher than that of investments in other fields, even if that means a decrease in expenses on road construction, etc.
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If the best of our human resources are to be used in the field of education, salaries have to be increased. Salaries are a powerful factor in the allocation of human resources between the different sectors of economic activity. So far, it seems that not enough qualified teachers are found in our schools. In the Catholic schools at the secondary level 12.82% of the teachers were classified grade 4 or above in 1959-60. In the Protestant schools, it was 58.3%. Salaries ought to be raised to retain teachers: turnover rates are higher for Catholics than Protestants, in Quebec than in Ontario.
Regional differentials ought to disappear as long as they prevent qualified teacher to be equally distributed throughout the Province. Children from poorer area have a right equal to those from richer areas to be taught by qualified teachers.
It is widely accepted throughout the world that there should not exist any differential in the salaries of women and men teachers. This principle is generally applied in seven provinces in Canada. Sex differentials are a characteristic of the salary structure of teachers in Quebec. For reasons of equity, such differentials ought to disappear gradually as long as the services rendered are the same.
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Higher salaries for higher qualification should be stressed. Qualifications and not seniority should be the principal factor in salary determination. That is specially important when an improvement in the qualifications of teachers is a public objective. Such a differential should be consistent with the financial reward expected from the investment in higher education.
A priori, no particular wage structure is to be considered best. The best one is the one susceptible to attain the desired objectives as rapidly as possible.
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ST-LAURENT, JACQUES, M.Sc.Soc. (Laval), professeur d'économique du travail et secrétaire, Département des relations industrielles, Faculté des sciences sociales, Université Laval.